July 13, 2021 / Nathan Eddy
The acquisition of private physician practices across the U.S. accelerated after the onset of the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the decade-long practice of hospitals and other entities acquiring physician practices, as physicians struggled to maintain private practices, according to a report from the Physicians Advocacy Institute and Avalere Health.
In 2019 and 2020, 48,400 additional physicians left independent practice and became employees of hospitals or other corporate entities. Nearly half that growth occurred after the onset of COVID-19.
At the start of 2021, nearly 70% of U.S. physicians were employed by hospital systems or other corporate entities such as private equity firms and insurers, leaving just three out of 10 of the nation’s physicians practicing in independent medical practices.
Hospitals and other corporate entities acquired 20,900 additional physician practices over the two-year period, resulting in a 25% increase in corporate-owned practices.
Meanwhile, 18,600 additional physicians left independent practice to become hospital employees, with 11,400 from that shift making the move after the onset of COVID-19.